Frequently Asked Questions

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Have questions about Insurance?

Hints, tips and common questions, they’re all in here!

We thought one place for all that miscellaneous information you’re after would be best kept in the FAQ’s section. Take your pick and read all about it!

If you still have an unanswered question, just give us a call on 01743 770 500 and we’ll be happy to help.

Firstly, check everyone is okay. If not, dial 999 for the emergency services and apply first aid until they arrive.

Unless they are seriously injured, you need to make a decision whether to move everyone else to a safe place away from the roadside and further danger.

If you have a camera or a phone with a camera app, take photographs of the scene and the vehicles involved.

If you have your Glovebox Accident Report Form in the vehicle, use this to record full details of the incident.

This includes:

  • Full names and addresses of all parties involved including witnesses
  • Registration numbers and brief description (e.g. make, model and colour) of all vehicles involved
  • Name of other party’s insurers – and policy number if they have it to hand
  • Time and location of the incident
  • Brief description of the incident

Motor insurance claims should be reported as soon as possible. Make sure you know where your policy documents are in order to reference your policy number.

In the event of an accident you should call 0844 848 1200 and the experienced team will efficiently manage all aspects of your claim on your behalf, to minimise disruption to you.

There is no excuse for driving without insurance – and it is illegal not to have valid motor insurance in the UK.

If you are convicted for driving without insurance it will make any future applications for motor and all types of insurance difficult to obtain and more expensive. It will also affect your credit rating, make it more difficult to borrow money or obtain a mortgage.

When a claim is made, it is not simply the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle that the insurer has to consider. The greatest cost is the compensation to other parties involved who have suffered injuries – whether short term or life changing – or damage to property where the other policyholder was not at fault.

Because when calculating premiums, insurance companies have to consider that the cost of any type of insurance has to reflect the risk. Therefore, the greater the risk of a claim being made, the higher the premium will be. Evidence and statistics show that unfortunately, young drivers are far more at risk on our roads and are twice as likely to make an insurance claim as other drivers (with their claim costs being an average of three times higher than other drivers).

Simply, because the cost of meeting claims has gone up very significantly. The increase of the compensation culture and the cost of legal claims. The ABI estimates that 10% of every motor insurance premium is going to the legal profession. Insurance fraud and uninsured driving are also growing problems.

The majority of car insurance policies have a compulsory excess as well as an optional voluntary excess. The compulsory excess is the amount you have to pay towards the cost of any claim.

When you take out an insurance policy, you will be asked if you wish to choose a voluntary excess as well. Essentially, by agreeing to pay more towards the cost of any claim, your premium will usually be cheaper. However, think carefully – can you afford to pay both the excesses in the event of a claim?

If you’ve shopped around and think you’ve found a fantastic bargain, look closely at the small print, in particular the excesses and endorsements section. Check the compulsory excess levels – this is the amount you would have to pay upfront in the event of any claim. The cost of the compulsory excess could make the policy ridiculously expensive (and more than you can afford to pay) compared to what you initially thought was the cheapest price.

Although it seems daunting now, just remember that if you drive safely, you will soon build up your own No Claims Discount which will greatly reduce the cost of your insurance premiums. Remember, driving without insurance is illegal and if you are involved in an accident that is your fault, you will have no protection against the spiralling expenses involved, not to mention the legal consequences of not having insurance cover.

Adding an older or more experienced driver to your policy as a ‘named driver’ can, in some cases, bring down your premium – but don’t be tempted to add them as the ‘main driver’ and yourself as a ‘named driver’ if you do the majority of the driving. This is called ‘fronting’ which is illegal. ‘Fronting’ could result in the policy being cancelled, earn you a conviction for driving without valid insurance and make it harder and more expensive to find cover in the future.

This is not always an option, but if you are lucky enough to be able to afford to pay your premium upfront, this could save you paying a monthly payment charge. However, many insurers do offer monthly instalment facilities if this is not an option for you.

Statistically, the fewer miles you drive, the less of a risk you are! Insurance policies are available with a limited mileage clause, therefore reducing your premiums.

Even something simple such as adding alloy wheels to your car has to be disclosed to your insurer as it is seen as a modification to the vehicle. Leave the fins, spoilers and big exhausts until you’ve got a few years experience under your belt!

Third Party Fire and Theft vs. Comprehensive cover? Third party cover is the minimum legal standard in the UK. Third Party Fire and Theft covers you for loss or damage caused by fire or theft of your own vehicle as well as damage to other people’s property or injuries you may cause them. It does not cover any accidental damage you may cause to your own vehicle.

Comprehensive cover includes everything that is covered by third party fire and theft as well as protecting you against accidental damage to your own vehicle.

Don’t be tempted to go for too powerful an engine – insurance companies take into account how powerful your car is (increased speed = increase chances of an accident) as well as the value of the vehicle (how much it would cost to repair/replace in the event of an accident).

Choose a car with a smaller engine size, a standard model, approximately 1 litre capacity and free from modifications.

Currently, the best new cars for young motorists are the Volkswagen Up!, Seat Mii, Ford Ka, Renault Clio, Vauxhall Corsa or other similar small cars. You can check the insurance group for your prospective car by visiting www.thatcham.org. A good reliable second hand (i.e. lower value) car could help reduce your premium.

Fitting an approved immobiliser or an alarm (if your car doesn’t already have one installed) or consistently using a steering lock reduce the chances of your vehicle being stolen and therefore your ‘risk’ will be decreased and your premiums also. Keeping your vehicle in a secure garage could also reduce your premiums. Glass etching (etching the registration number) can also be a further deterrent to thieves. Check with your insurer to see which makes/models of immobiliser/alarm are on their approved list to reduce your premium.

Don’t forget to remove high value items from your car when you leave it. If you have a car stereo, invest in one where you can remove the face of the radio. Don’t leave your Sat Nav, iPods or other devices visible in the car!

To reduce your chances of being involved in an accident as well as avoiding penalty points and convictions, make sure you are driving safely and sensibly and within the speed limits. Any points or convictions will increase your insurance premium, possibly to the point where it is completely unaffordable. Stay accident and claims free for the first year and when you renew your insurance, you’ll be eligible for a ‘No Claims Discount/Bonus’. If you continue to drive safely for up to five years, you’ll earn a maximum No Claims Discount, all the time, bringing your premiums down to a more affordable level.

Also known as car insurance telematics, as part of the conditions of your insurance, you have a box fitted that ‘black box’ fitted to your car that tracks your driving performance, sending back data to the insurer for analysis and pricing. Having black-box fitted could help you to reduce the insurance premiums as it allows the insurer to analyse and see your driving performance, and if you drive carefully, it can reduce your premiums, you can read more about it here.

Advanced driving courses can give you more confidence and experience on the road, making you a more attractive prospect to insurance companies as well as increasing your driving skills including; night time driving, adverse weather conditions driving or motorway driving. Any courses, e.g. The Driving Standards Agency’s ‘Pass Plus’ or driving courses from the Institute of Advanced Motorists, could give you more driving experience and therefore could reduce your car insurance costs.

Your NCB is usually earned for each year of cover where a driver has insurance on a vehicle without making a claim on the policy. Each consecutive year without a claim builds up your NCB to a maximum of five years to attract a discount on the cost of your car insurance policy.

Building up your NCB can have a big effect on the price you pay for your car insurance premiums.

If you make a claim, regardless of whether you are found to be at fault or not, you will lose a proportion of your NCB, e.g. you damage your vehicle after skidding on black ice and raise a claim – the insurer has no other party to claim from, so you will lose a proportion of your NCB; or you are involved in an accident but the insurers cannot decide who is at fault, the cost then is split between the parties and you will lose a proportion of your NCB. The only case where you may not lose a proportion of your NCB is if you are involved in an accident where the other party claims full responsibility and their insurance provider covers all costs and expenses (including courtesy car, medical bills etc).

If you have an ongoing unsettled claim at the same time as your car insurance is due for renewal, you may be quoted a premium that is either higher or lower depending on the status of the claim, however, once the claim has been settled, your insurance will be requoted with the correct level of NCB and taking into account any convictions added to your licence. This may mean that you are entitled to a refund, or that you may have to make an additional payment to cover a shortfall.

It is possible to pay an extra fee to protect against the potential loss of your No Claims Bonus. However, if you have two accidents in a short space of time, it’s likely that your insurer won’t be keen to offer this option again. You should note that a protected NCB does not prevent your insurance premium from necessarily rising on renewal.

So, is protection still worth it? The short and sweet answer would be ‘yes’ because a NCB is a valuable asset and can provide a good discount on the cost of your car insurance.

In the UK car insurance is a legal requirement for any vehicle which is kept on the street, on a driveway or in a garage. The only time that this is not required is if the vehicle has been declared SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice).

There are three types of cover available: third-party, third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive.

Third-party only policies

Motor insurance is a legal requirement as it protects other road users from any damage you may cause. The most basic type of motor policy is third-party only cover, and it provides a very minimal protection, against damage you are responsible for, to other people, their vehicles and their property.

In the event of a claim that is your fault, your third-party policy will pay for the cost of repairing any other vehicles, and also for medical treatment costs or legal claims against you.
It does not insure or cover you for repairs needed to your own vehicle or own medical expenses. You will not be covered if your vehicle is stolen or damaged by fire.

You should also consider that if you are involved in a claim where the fault can not be decided, you will also be unable to claim.

Third-party, fire and theft policies

As well as covering the requirements of third party only cover, this will insure you against your car being stolen or fire damaged.

Comprehensive car insurance

The difference with comprehensive cover is that this type of policy will cover you for damage caused to your own vehicle, as well as to other road users, even if an accident is your fault or if blame can’t be attributed. It also covers your vehicle against fire and theft.

There are a number of options available that you can add to your policy; from breakdown insurance to provision of a courtesy car whilst your vehicle is repaired. Check your cover carefully to ensure that these benefits are not duplicated with cover by another type of policy.

How is car insurance calculated?

There are a number of factors taken into account by insurance companies when calculating your premium. These can include:

Your vehicle

The more expensive your vehicle, the more it would cost to replace or repair it in the event of a claim, so the higher your premium.
A larger engine size makes your car more powerful and therefore more likely to go faster and be involved in an accident.
The popularity of your vehicle can put you at risk of higher premiums if statistical data for your area shows that your vehicle is more desirable to thieves! Improving your security can help offset this risk.

Where you live

As mentioned above, statistical data on vehicle crime is used to calculate risk according to your postcode.

Your age

Young drivers (between 17 and 24) face the highest premiums due to the risks they pose as inexperienced and less cautious drivers. Insurers use statistical data to calculate risks according to age groups.

Your occupation

Your job can influence the cost of your premiums as statistical data used by insurers has highlighted that some occupations are at risk of a greater number of claims.

Car usage

How many miles you drive affects your premium for the simple fact that the more miles you drive, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident.

No Claims Bonus

If you haven’t claimed on your car insurance in a particular year, you will receive a no claims bonus for that period. This can be ‘built up’ usually to a maximum of five years for the highest discount on your car insurance premium.

Convictions and Points

If you have been convicted of a driving offense and/or received points on your licence this will increase your premiums. You should always disclose convictions to your broker who will advise whether they need to be declared to the insurer (depending upon when they become spent).

Excess

If you choose a higher voluntary excess on your policy, your premiums should decrease as you are taking a greater proportion of the risk for any claim. Make sure that you are in a position to be able to pay both the voluntary and compulsory excesses in the event of any claim, otherwise if may become financially uneconomical/false economy in the long term.

Type of cover

Choosing comprehensive cover over third party fire and theft will usually result in a higher premium for the majority of drivers, however, it is always worth getting both covers quoted as in some cases there may be little difference!

Drivers on your policy

If you are an experienced driver and add a young driver (e.g. son or daughter) to your policy having just passed their driving test, your premium can significantly increase, however, if they were to add you to their own policy, it could significantly decrease their premium!

Your gender

Statistically, women drivers are far less likely to cause a serious accident than male drivers. However, following the ban on gender pricing which came into effect in December 2012, insurance premiums have risen for young women.

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